The purpose of this award is to encourage young adults across Arkansas to read. The award recognizes books in two divisions: Level 1 (7th-9th grade) and Level 2 (10th-12th grade).
The Arkansas Teen Book Award began in 2009 as a cooperative effort between public and school librarians across the state. Arkansas recognizes quality children’s literature through the Charlie May Simon and Arkansas Diamond awards, yet the acknowledgment of young adult literature had been greatly neglected. Enter six Arkansas librarians whose goal was to fill this gap. The steering committee for the teen award now consists of public librarians and school library media specialists from varying backgrounds and service areas around the state. Each year, dozens of volunteer readers working with teens across the state give their time to reading the nominated titles.
TITLE SELECTION AND VOTING
Nominations are accepted from the public and all eligible materials are included in the yearly reading lists. These books are read and voted on by teachers and librarians across Arkansas to create a manageable reading list. This reading list is distributed across the state and then teens cast their votes for their favorite titles to determine the ultimate winners of the awards.
The steering committee is composed of seven members including: three public librarians, three school librarians, and one representative of the Arkansas State Library. With the exception of the State Library position, all members agree to serve a minimum four year term. Open calls for steering committee applications are made when the need arises and announced through various listservs. It is HIGHLY recommend that those interested in a position serve as a reader or moderator for the awards prior to applying to the steering committee.
The current steering committee members are as follows:
- Nina Darley, Teen Librarian, Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library
- Cathy Howser, Coordinator of Children’s Programs, Arkansas State Library
- Jami Kath Harrison, Librarian, Central Arkansas Library System
- Lynette Thetford, Library Media Specialist, Nettleton Junior High School
- Katherine Higginbottom, Library Media Specialist, Cedar Ridge High School
- Alicia Murray, Library Media Specialist, Rose Bud High School
- Manda Garrison, Programming and Outreach Manager, Saline County Library